US President Joe Biden said Friday he has been briefed on the three Americans missing in Ukraine and strongly encouraged Americans not to travel there.
“I have been briefed. We don’t know where they are, but I want to reiterate: Americans should not be going to Ukraine now. I’ll say it again: Americans should not be going to Ukraine now,” he said in response to a question from CNN’s MJ Lee before he departed the White House for a weekend in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware.
Some background: The men are Alexander John-Robert Drueke, 39, from Tuscaloosa, Alabama and Andy Tai Ngoc Huynh, 27, from Hartselle, Alabama.
In addition, the US State Department said Thursday that it was aware of reports that a third American who traveled to Ukraine to fight against Russia had gone missing "in recent weeks."
"There are reports of one additional American whose whereabouts are unknown. I can't speak to the specifics of that case. Unfortunately we don't know the full details of that case," said State Department spokesperson Ned Price at a news briefing on Thursday.
Drueke and Huynh went missing during a battle on June 9 near the town of Izbytske, according to a man who is acting as the team's sergeant, and who provided CNN with photos of both men's passports and their entry stamps into Ukraine. He wished to remain anonymous for security reasons.
CNN's Mick Krever contributed reporting to this post.